Greg Rutherford’s sprint coach shares his top five ways to boost your track times
Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo is the head of performance for the Speed Works and was formerly a UK Athletics coach for their performance team from 2009 to 2013.
Jonas specialises in sprint coaching and has tutored some of this country’s most well-known athletes including London 2012 Olympic Long Jump Champion Greg Rutherford and Paralympic 100m Champion Jonnie Peacock.
He also trains Chijindu Ujah, Britain’s third fastest man over 100 metres ever. The 20-year-old recently ran 9.96secs in Hengelo, Holland.
The five exercises below all tackle different parts of the speed velocity curve and the different components of being explosive. To be explosive you need to address the entirety of the speed velocity curve. These five exercises work across that continuum.
How you do it?
- Inhale, contract your abs, tighten your back and by pushing through your heels raise the bar.
- Raise the bar by first straightening the legs. Let the bar smoothly follow the vertical line of your leg but don’t drag it on your shins.
- When the bar reaches the knees, straighten the torso and the legs simultaneously (without rounding your back) to reach the fully erect, standing position.
- Throughout the lift, maintain a neutral spine (natural, proper alignment of the spine; no excessive curving).
It’s an all body exercise that targets the posterior chain including the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and lower back. The movement and muscles used mirror that of the Olympic lift which can be added into a training programme when the subject is at a more advanced stage.
Include the deadlift in your training programme twice a week. Over the course of an eight to 12 week training period you should start with three sets of 10 lifts, progressing to five sets of five repetitions. The starting weight will vary on the strength of the subject but be sure not to over exert from the start.
Mix it up
Keep your training varied by doing a traditional deadlift in one session and a straight leg deadlift in the other.
2. Front squat
How do you do it?
- Open your feet wide apart (slightly wider than your shoulder width), with your hips stacked over your knees and knees over your ankles.
- Reach your arms out in front of you, so that they’re parallel with the floor. Your palms should be facing down.
- Start by taking a deep breath, and moving your hips backwards as you bend your knees ever so slightly.
- As your buttocks points out, ensure that the rest of your upper body, back, shoulders and chest, remain straight. Keep your face and eyes looking straight ahead.
- Now you’re ready to go down further, until your hip joint reaches below where your knees usually are.
- Release your breath as you put pressure on your legs and push up to resume staring position for the next squat.
The squat is a quadriceps dominant movement which …read more